How come all those Irish terrorists were let out after the Good Friday Agreement then ? Isn't that interference with justice ?
Last year, the House of Lords ruled that the SFO's decision to drop the corruption investigation into the £43bn Saudi arms deal with BAE Systems was unlawful.
In a hard-hitting ruling, two High Court judges described the SFO's decision as "an outrage".
One of them, Lord Justice Moses, said the SFO and the Government had given into "blatant threats" that Saudi intelligence co-operation would end unless the probe into corruption was halted.
"No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice," he said. "It is the failure of government and the defendant to bear that essential principle in mind that justifies the intervention of this court."
I see, they passed another law to let them out.
So all we need is the Serious Fraud Office (Saudi Arabia) Bill 2009 and we're laughing. Is that OK?
(my views on the BAe/Saudi bribery brouhaha are here.
I'd recommend anyone commenting on this issue to take a look at Anthony Sampson's book The Arms Bazaar. Bribery and large arms contracts have been together for a very long time. If we don't bribe others will. Even senior people in Western democracies can be bribed.)
Now it's not unreasonable to say - no. We shouldn't bribe. Let others do it - we won't. Fine. If you don't want to bribe, get out of the arms trade. Which means closing a large chunk of what remains of Britain's technically advanced manufacturing industry. And in this case it also means a rupture with a powerful (we've sold them all that kit) oil-rich nation bordering Iraq. You can see why HMG might blink at this.
UPDATE - Jeremy Warner on doing business 'out there' :
Anyone with any experience of trading in the Middle East knows that the moment you tread further south than Marseilles, the law of contract becomes – how shall we put it? – somewhat pliable. For instance, it is relatively common place for clients in the Gulf to freeze payments to contractors. For us that may be breach of contract, but for them it is merely part of the hard ball of negotiation...
What's going on at Saad Group in Saudi Arabia is in some respects a great deal worse. Much of the money seems to have gone walk about, with local creditors being given preferential treatment over international lenders.